While in Pa., Obama wins Senator's support

March 31, 2008 5:23:46 PM PDT
Democratic Sen. Barack Obama secured the backing of a second female senator on Monday as a top supporter of rival Hillary Rodham Clinton raised expectations for Obama in the upcoming Pennsylvania primary.

Freshman Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, who recently voiced concerns about the rancorous tone of the Democratic primary, said she was forced to choose between two friends and picked Obama.

"Between Barack and a hard place, I chose Barack," she told reporters in a conference call. "He's able to dissolve the hard cynical edge that has dominated our politics under the Bush administration."

Klobuchar joins Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill in backing Obama, who hasn't fared as well with white female voters as Clinton has in the primaries. The two presidential candidates each have the backing of 13 senators, who are superdelegates to the convention.

Klobuchar's decision follows last Friday's endorsement from Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey Jr., who has campaigned with Obama on his six-day bus tour of the Keystone State.

Clinton holds a double-digit lead in state polls and Obama is trying to erase or at least cut into her advantage in the April 22 primary. Gov. Ed Rendell, who backs Clinton, said Monday that Obama was probably making up ground.

"We have a very strong lead, but I think that lead is going to shrink," Rendell said on ABC's "Good Morning America."

Rendell appeared on the program with Casey, who said Clinton would likely win. Obama is "certainly the underdog in our state."

Obama spoke at a town hall Monday morning and planned to visit a gas station later in the day to highlight the rising cost of a galloon of gas. As part of his campaign in the state, Obama is airing an ad in which he says he's not beholden to the oil companies and offers his plan for energy independence.

"I don't want to make promises I can't keep. So I don't promise that the minute I'm elected suddenly the gas prices drop a buck," Obama told the town-hall audience. "That's not gonna happen but what I can promise is we can go after those windfalls."

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)